She rubbed her eyes in the early morning hours, bone weary and emotionally exhausted. To watch as her dear friend and teacher, Jesus, was crucified was simply more than her heart could bear. He did not deserve the torture he received and yet those words, those haunting words he last spoke from the cross, explained his deepest pain—the agony of separation from his heavenly Father.
As Mary tried to piece all these thoughts together, her brain fogged and her heart sank deeper into despair. How could the baby born in a manger be deemed as the King of the Jews, yet be slaughtered for all to see? It seemed the only way to nurture her sorrowing spirit was to be as close to the grave as she possibly could. While it was still dark, she carefully made her way to the entrance, hoping to find solace in being near his body that no longer labored with every breath.
But when she arrived, confusion overtook her mind. All she could see was the stone had been rolled from the tomb’s entrance. He was no longer there. What could have happened? Where did they take his body? Mary ran to the men she knew loved Jesus. She called to Peter and John to come and see for themselves: The stone had been rolled away from the grave’s opening! Immediately the disciples ran to uncover the facts. Only they found nothing but neatly folded linen cloths and a face cloth folded in a separate place.
After they looked around and drew their own conclusions, Mary continued to stand outside the grave. She began to weep and finally, she worked up the courage to peer into the grave. What she saw was completely unexpected! Two angels in white were sitting at the head and foot of the prior place where Jesus’ body had been lying. The angels asked her why she is weeping. She replied that her Lord had been taken from this place and she weeps because she doesn’t know where he has gone. Mary then begged the gardener to tell her where Jesus’ body had been taken. But the man she begged for the truth was not the gardener. Upon hearing her name, Mary realized the man standing before her was not the gardener. He was none other than her master, Jesus.
Can you imagine her racing heart and mind as she begins to grasp that everything he said was true? He IS the Son of God. He DID rise again, just as he said he would. Every thought Mary could collect from the farthest corner of her mind all came together to explain the story- HIS STORY. As the emotions flooded her heart and soul, Mary could not contain herself and immediately went to tell the disciples the good news: Jesus is ALIVE! Life was about to move forward in a way she’d never known. The temple veil had been torn and grace walked right through it.
I believe most women can identify with the roller coaster of emotions Mary experienced. Living in the tension of the unknown for three days, Mary’s heart must have been weakened by trauma and heartache. And you’ve been there too. Fighting to understand circumstances beyond your control and feeling like a failure because you were powerless to change a situation. If your heart identifies strongly with Mary’s today, then you’ll be encouraged to know that her ache was seasonal and while she struggled to understand all that God was doing in the wait, ultimately the grace poured over her was greater than any emotion she could ever experience. His grace is still just as available today as it was the day he exploded from the tomb. Whether you are experiencing disappointment, battling disease, or staring at death, grace is with you. Jesus is with you. And just like Mary, you can experience the fullness of new life once again.
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 10:31
If uncovering grace in the middle of life’s messy moments sounds refreshing, then you’ll love this beautiful book, The Magic of Motherhood. A love letter to mothers everywhere, you’ll laugh and cry, but also discover grace and truth on every page. I think it will bring new life into your old circumstances and you’ll remember, just as Mary did, that seasons are a beautiful thing.
How have you identified with Mary this Easter season?